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Osmorhiza occidentalis - (Nutt.)Torr.

Common Name Western Sweet-Cicely, Western sweetroot
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Shady or partly shady areas, often on slopes and in valleys[60, 85].
Range Western N. America.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Osmorhiza occidentalis Western Sweet-Cicely, Western sweetroot


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund
Osmorhiza occidentalis Western Sweet-Cicely, Western sweetroot
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Osmorhiza occidentalis is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root  Seed
Edible Uses: Condiment

The root has a sweet liquorice or anise flavour and can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a flavouring for biscuits etc[85, 183, 257]. The taste is probably too strong for the whole root to be used as a vegetable[85]. The dried seeds are used as a flavouring[85, 183, 257]. The unripe seed, when still fleshy, can be nibbled raw[85, 183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiseptic  Carminative  Deodorant  Febrifuge  Ophthalmic  Oxytoxic  Pectoral  Poultice  
Skin  Stomachic

Western sweet-cicely was widely employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it particularly to treat digestive disorders and as an antiseptic wash for a range of problems[257]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. An infusion of the plant is used in the treatment of coughs and colds[61, 257]. The roots are antiseptic, carminative, febrifuge, oxytocic, pectoral and stomachic[257]. An infusion has been used to induce labour in a pregnant woman and to treat fevers, indigestion, flatulence, stomach aches etc[257]. An infusion of the roots has been applied externally as a treatment for swollen breasts, sores, sore eyes etc[257]. A decoction of the root has been used as a wash on venereal sores and skin rashes[257]. A poultice of the pulped roots has been used in the treatment of cuts, sores, swellings and bruises[257]. The root has been applied to teeth to relive the pain of toothache[257]. A hot decoction of the root has been used to kill head lice[257].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Deodorant  Incense  Insecticide

The roots have been used by women as a feminine deodorant[257]. They have also been placed in the clothes cupboard to impart a nice smell to clothes and have been used to rinse babies nappies[257]. A decoction of the root has been used as a dip to kill lice in chickens[257].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in any deep moisture-retentive soil in sun or dappled shade[200]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c[200]. Well suited to naturalistic plantings in a woodland or wild garden[200]. A sweetly aromatic plant[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible, otherwise sow it in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Osmorhiza aristata Perennial0.6 -  LMHSNM30 
Osmorhiza chilensis Perennial0.8 5-9  LMHSNM30 
Osmorhiza claytoniiWoolly Sweet-Cicely, Clayton's sweetrootPerennial1.0 5-9  LMHSNM311
Osmorhiza longistylisAniseroot, Longstyle sweetrootPerennial1.2 5-9  LMHSNM311
Osmorhiza obtusa Perennial1.0 -  LMHSNM30 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Expert comment

Author

(Nutt.)Torr.

Botanical References

60200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

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